Baseball America correspondent Adam Rubin reports that the Mets felt that Fernando Martinez‘ combination of tools and polish relative to his peers is what separated him from other Latin American teenagers when they signed him in 2005 to a $1.4 million bonus, the highest bonus of that year’s international class.
"I’ve gone down that road with a lot of guys before, but he stood out because he was really under control," says Sandy Johnson, the Mets’ VP for scouting, who watched Martinez work out at the team’s Dominican Republic complex even before the Florida tryout. "He had tremendous bat speed. The ball jumps off his bat. He never swung and missed. He was really a mature-type 15½, 16-year-old kid."
Injuries have limited Martinez’ playing time, but the Mets aggressively pushed their top prospect last season to Double-A Binghamton, where he hit .271/.336/.377 in 236 at-bats as the youngest player in the Eastern League. It can be difficult to gauge the progress of a player so young playing at such a high level–pariticularly with the injuries that have limited Martinez–but his bat speed and offensive tools are outstanding, making him the 20th overall prospect in baseball and the second-best prospect in the National League East.